Monday, December 21, 2009

a ghrian nan tràth

The fog is thick and hugs close to the trees, giving everything an aura of blue-gray. A warm cuppa clasped in my hands does the duty of keeping me awake and focused on the task at hand: witnessing Grianstad an Gheimhridh (the winter solstice) sunrise.

As the dawn descends upon the world, the shade goes from blue-gray to pale gray. The sun has some time yet until it has pierced the horizon above the hilly land. Geese take their first flight of the morn and the crow speaks of the day, as my heart sings the praises of Grian, of my ancestors and of those fellow few who walk this path with me.

Yet, despite the sunrise here, my mind cannot help but travel o’er the ocean to Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange) of Ireland, which just six hours ago the rays of Griannan / An Grían Béag (‘the little sun’) pierced the tunnel of the tomb. A song from the Carmina Gadelica (#316) comes to mind:

Photo © Alan Betson | Fàilte ort féin, a ghrian nan tràth,
‘S tu siubhail ard nan speur;
Do cheumaibh treun air sgéith nan ard,
‘S tu màthair àigh nan reul.

Thu laighe sìos an cuan na dìth
Gun dìobhail is gun sgàth,
Thu ‘g éirigh suas air stuagh na sìth,
Mar rìoghain òg fo bhlàth.

(I welcome you, sun of the seasons,
As you travel the skies aloft;
Your steps are strong on the wing of the heavens,
You are the glorious mother of the stars.

You descend into the deadly sea
Without distress and without fear;
You rise up on the wave of peace,
Like a youthful Queen in bloom.)

May we all descend each night into the deadly sea without distress and fear, and rise with light upon our paths.

Meán Geimhridh Shona daoibh!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Busy, busy bee

Got up fairly early this morning since I have a good bit to do. Made Brodick Bannocks for breakfast. This was my first try and while I used white flour instead of brown as that's all I had on hand, they were yummy! Here's a pic (click to enlarge). I was going to make fuarag to go along with it, but I decided to save that for the party tonight since my niece and nephews would probably enjoy it.

I've cleaned the living room, kitchen and the my/guest bathroom so far this morning. Will decorate a bit when gets off work and stops by (ETA: put up a simple centerpiece on the kitchen table). In the meantime, I'm going to go ahead and cook what I can ahead of time (the spice cake) and carve the turnip that I didn't have enough time to do last night. Then it's in full mode Halloween around here. *whew*

It's raining so the bonfire is out the window *sadface* But we'll find something to do indoors.

Oíche Shamhna Shona Dhaoibh!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Truly honored

Tomás has named me as his successor over at Gaol Naofa. Sadly the website is down so I cannot link anyone (working on the new one now). For those who don't know, GN is the only Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheism organization in the United States (if not the world). Tomás built GN from the ground up and I am honored to be given the reigns. Let's hope, with the aid of the current members and the déithe, that I can be a strong leader for the organization and help GN grow and flourish.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

sinneán na gaoithe

It has been quite an interesting early spring here. March was ushered in with cool weather, then we had a streak of warmer almost summer-like heat, now as I stand out on the porch, I can feel a cold front approaching. An Cailleach is not ready to hand over the season. Outside it is cold, blustery and soggy.

An Cailleachan are active as well. We have some rather nasty weather moving in. Tonight begins a stream of severe thunderstorms lasting until Saturday. Weatherman says Friday is the worst threat and they are expecting them to be the worse this year, packed with tornadoes also.

Tomorrow night is the gealach úr (new moon) and Gaol Naofa's monthly rite of solidarity. Normally, I honor the ancestors, household deities and land spirits, but I may give a special offering to An Cailleachan as they rush through.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Imbolc Observance

Yesterday was spent at Cheaha State Park with the family. Later on that evening, I decided to make some barley bread both for offering and for breakfast on Sunday. It failed horribly, lol. I’m not sure what I did wrong but it came out like a brick, so I wrapped it up to crumble up later and give it to the birds. By the time I was finished with that and did the dishes to be sure the kitchen was clean to receive Bríd, it was really late so I decided to call it a night and get up early Sunday and begin working on another offering.

Before bed, I “lit” the electric candle I have for her, repeating A Brighid, scars os mo chionn / Do bhrat fionn dom anacal* as I lay down to sleep.

I awoke up around 7:30am this morning and did the routine cleaning my face and etcetera. I was up before the rest of the family, so I started the coffee pot and began gathering the ingredients for the tea cake. I made two, one for everyone to eat that morning and one mainly to give an offering from, and whatever was left for the extended family coming over after church.

Once they were off to church, I lit the oil burner and said Ultan’s Hymn to Brigit** [in English since I‘m not sure on Old Irish pronunciation]. I then went outside to gather from fresh juniper and performed the An Liuthail rite. Afterward, I warmed some milk and mixed in some honey, allowing the honey to melt. Once done, I came to the altar in my bedroom and poured it into the offering bowl, saying: Bríd breo bithbbhuan***. I walked outside and found some dandelions in bloom, so I picked those for Her and placed them on the altar as well.

Nothing fancy but very meaningful to me, at least.

* O Brighid, spread over my head / Your bright mantle to guard me

** Brigit be bithmaith [Brigit everfine lady,]
breo orda oiblech, [golden sparkling flame]
don-fe do'n bithlaith [may she lead us to eternal day,]
in grian tind taidleach [the fiery radiant sun!]

*** Glory everlasting to Brigit the fiery!